Anuradhapura - The City of Ancient Kings
Anuradhapura - The City of Ancient Kings
Hundreds of Kilometres away from the current capital of Colombo lies Anuradhapura : the ancient capital of 119 kings. the heart of Sri Lankan civilization, with a traceable history of 1500 years. This UNESCO world heritage site will take you back in time towards a golden era in Sri Lankan history of utmost prosperity and advanced craftsmanship which is secondary only to the marvels in Egypt. Open up to the well preserved ruins and long-lived monuments at Anuradhapura, which will tell you stories of an unparalleled Sri Lankan heritage.
Anuradhapura was made the royal capital by King Pandukabhaya in 380 B.C. Since then this majestic city has been the proud bearer of 119 successful rulers. The city’s glamor has attracted many foreign invaders including king Elara from South India whose successful invasion was ended by king Dutugemunu who became the first undisputed king of the united Sri Lanka.
King Dutugemunu laid the foundation to a greater civilization extending from the city of Anuradhapura to every part of the country. His symbolic creations including the tallest Stupa in the world: Ruwanveliseya unveil the magnificent artisanship in construction possessed by the ancient Sri Lankans.. His leadership in creating a Sinhala Buddhist heritage was followed by his successors .
Places to Visit
Anuradhapura is abundant with religious,historical and irrigational marvels in the world. You can spend weeks and months absorbing the Sri Lankan heritage at this magnificent city. Try to visit the Atamasthana : The Eight Sacred Sites in Anuradhapura which the Lord Buddha has visited during his three visits to Sri Lanka: Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanveliseya, Lowamahapaya, Mirisavetiya, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jethawanaramaya, Mirisaveti Stupa, Lankaramaya.
Sri Maha Bodhi - The Sacred Bo Tree
You will be amazed by the beauty of one of the oldest trees in the world which is approximately 2300 years old. Sri Maha Bodhi is the emblem of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Grown from a sapling of the original Bo-Tree under which the Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment, the Bo-Tree is in the heart of Buddhist devotees around the world. Sit on the sand in a shaded area in Weli Maluva and observe the Bo leaves being swayed by the breeze to find spiritual serenity at Sri Maha Bodhiya.
Ruwanveliseya: Pagoda of Golden Dust -
The largest Stupa built by King Dutugemunu, is one of the greatest attractions in Anuradhapura. The construction of the Stupa with 103m in height, rising far beyond the treetops and a circumference of 290m is said to be a prediction of the Lord Buddha himself. There are many legends as to how the name derives; many believe it was named after a tree goddess whose tree was cut down to facilitate the construction of the Stupa at the site. The relic chamber of the Mahastupa is believed to be enshrined with a Drona of relics of Lord Buddha. This spectacular monument is a testimony to the engineering skills of the ancient Sri Lankans. Before sunrise or after dusk are the perfect times to visit this sacred site as the heat from the sun makes it difficult for you to tread the stone pathway in naked feet.
The first ever Stupa to be built in Sri Lanka after Buddhism was introduced, by king Devanampiyatiisa in 210 B.C. The Dagoba surrounded by remaining ruins of the monastery complex will silently tell a story of a dawning new era to the Sri Lankan history.
The Samadhi Buddha Statue
The 7ft 3 inches Buddha statue located in Mahamevuna Uyana, Anuradhapura is one of the sculptural marvels in the era. The beauty of this expressive statue carved from granite is that it reveals three different facial expressions when observed from three angles.
Nestled next to the picturesque Tissa Weva, is the famous rock temple in Anuradahapura; Isurumuniya: a site which no one should miss. This famous temple is said to be the first repository of the Tooth Relic. In this pious site rests few of Sri Lanka’s timeless masterpieces: the rock carvings of Isurumuniya Lovers, The Elephant Pond and the Royal Family.
Twin Ponds: Kuttam Pokuna
Don’t miss out this hydraulic wonder of the ancient Sri Lankans. You will be amazed at the advanced technology which has been used to bring water to the twin pools which are said to belong to the Abayagiri Vihara Complex in the 5th Century.
Only 12km away from Anuradhapura lies the most significant Buddhist pilgrim site: The Mihinthalaya Rock where 2300 years ago Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka by Mahinda Thero.
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